Kengo Kuma stacks wooden layers
inside office and cafe


Japanese architect Kengo Kuma has layered wooden boards to create striations inside this workspace and cafe for an online restaurant guide based in Osaka (+ slideshow).

Gurunavi cafe and office by Kengo Kuma

Kengo Kuma designed the interiors of two spaces for Gurunavi: one that's used as a physical base and information centre for the Japanese restaurant guide and another that serves as a cafe.

Gurunavi cafe and office by Kengo Kuma

Both follow the same design language, with surfaces created using layers of plywood to create a landscape that functions as furniture.

Gurunavi cafe and office by Kengo Kuma

"We piled up pieces of wooden panels to build the interior like topography," said Kuma. "Various kinds of food-related items are laid out on this wooden ground."

Gurunavi cafe and office by Kengo Kuma

At the Shun*Shoku Lounge cafe, the wooden boards are stacked from floor to ceiling in one corner and create a counter in the centre plus seating around the sides.

Gurunavi cafe and office by Kengo Kuma

Similarly in the workspace, the strata wrap around the edges of the room and extend out at various heights to form shelving, desks and seating.

Gurunavi cafe and office by Kengo Kuma
Shun*Shoku Lounge

The two spaces are both enclosed by glass walls on three sides and a solid wall at the back. They are separated by a tunnel that leads to further retail units at Osaka's main railway station.

Gurunavi cafe and office by Kengo Kuma

A similar layering effect also features in Kuma's design for the V&A museum in Dundee, which was granted planning permission in August last year.

Gurunavi cafe and office by Kengo Kuma

  • dewd

    I wonder how durable this is though. Won’t the wood get dirty and worn after a short while ?

  • Emmett

    Anytime I see things like this, all I can think of is trying to clean it.

  • Pete

    What an incredible waste of wood for a cheap visual thrill.

    • jt

      Ahhh… Dezeen commenters. Taking the piss out of creative endeavors since 2006.

      • Pete

        Creativity doesn’t have to be wasteful. Heard of Ram’s 10 principles of design, for a start?

  • Concerned Citizen

    Seems like a lot of wasted plywood.

    • Rusty

      Are you all for real? You do know what website you chose to click on, right? It’s not called the efficient and readily cleanable spatial solutions blog. Lighten up. The dude made a cool looking thing. Is the dress or suit you wore to your wedding/party as easily cleaned as a a pair of dungarees? Is it as efficient a use of materials as a spandex jumpsuit? I’m guessing no. Its not hard to make a case against building ANYTHING. Literally, anything. Its all fraught with problems. But I’m pretty sure we all came here to look at interesting, solutions to familiar problems which this certainly is.

      • Alun

        A wedding dress tends not be worn everyday hence the cleaning of it not really being an issue. This is an office apparently.

      • roelatmac

        Rusty, this is not some fair for experimental design by students, it is a workspace and a cafe. get real, This is not practical. Every cleaning staff will leave crying.

      • Chris MacDonald

        Could not have said it better myself.

      • Franciis

        Here Here @disqus_19uokCoq3w:disqus

      • Franciis

        Sorry i meant here here @Rusty

      • Pete

        Efficiency and design aren’t mutually exclusive Rusty.

  • Roan

    Reminds me of basswood site models back in architecture school.

  • Hotte

    And the client said: I can get a whole truck of plywood for free, what can we do with it?

  • Peanuts

    Ayoo, my pen just rolled in and disappeared again.

  • amsam

    I do love his layered things. I love them a bit more when they’re lighter, more graceful, less aggressive than this one. But I guess there’s a place for brutalism in every aesthetic.

  • id

    A disaster from all points of view – saving material, constructive, sustainable logic, economics, CLEANING, maintenance, etc.

  • Lourdes Balderrama

    Really pretty and all but who would want a “desk” that has no room for knees and legs?

  • LOW

    That looks EX-PEN-SIVE

  • William

    Good luck when there are cockroaches roaming around! Most designs are elegant yet extremely non-practical these days by both architects and interior designers.

  • visign3d

    Looks like a plywood storage :)

  • Marco

    I cringe when I think about a customer spilling soy sauce on the tables…